BulletinGold #19
January 7, 2002   #
19
 


Editor's Remarks
----by Donna Richmond

I pray that you all had a safe and restful holiday and that the Lord will be with you during this new year. Michael, Jeremy, and I are looking forward to the blessings of God in 2002.  I start a new full-time job tomorrow, January 7.  I will be the receptionist, secretary, clerk, and teaching aide for the Learning Assistance Program at Hancock College's new campus in Lompoc.  Please keep me in your prayers that I will do well and be able to learn my new job skills.

Because of the new job, I will be sending BulletinGold out only the first Sunday of each month. Since our first issue last March, we have been blessed by many wonderful bulletin resources. You can find these resources, as well as all our back issues, at the BulletinGold website at http://www.BulletinGold.PreachToday.com.  Ed Thomason continues to do an excellent job of keeping the website updated.

Since I am sending you only one BulletinGold each month, I want to be sure that you will have excellent material for your bulletins.  This means that I still need you to send me those great articles and poems.  I still need you to send me websites which teach the Bible and have resources to share with your brethren.

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Panning for more Gold
---- preacher's articles this issue

THE EASY WAY DOESN'T LEAD TO THE RIGHT PLACE
by: A. Jay Kelly

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it. Matthew 7:13-14

That verse is among the most frightening in the New Testament, and no less so because it is the Lord himself speaking. While often applied, correctly, to the religious world, this verse has an application to the church of Christ as well. You see, too many of us are on the broad road of acceptance, popularity, and acclaim, and not enough on the narrow road of faithfulness.

I'm not talking about those who are relying on the grace of God and struggling to be faithful to Him in everything they do, but who fail regularly. If that was the wide road, no one could be on the narrow path. No, the wide path is a little different. It sneaks up when we think we have our doctrine down pat and need no further study. It hits us when the world goes zipping by on the four-lane highway to Hell, and we wonder why we are on this single lane path, when it looks like they're enjoying their trip so much more.

We wonder why we have to live with all these "rules." After all, isn't grace supposed to get rid of the rules? But, grace doesn't get rid of the rules, or the standard of conduct. Grace simply saves us when we fail (and we all do!).

Jesus, in this passage, tells us that it is easy to get off track. The roadway to heaven goes only through Him and his doctrine. If we hope to please God, we need to get on that narrow path. To stay on the path is to accept and do those things Jesus has told us. Obedience is not legalism, and God is not bound to accept whatever we feel is good and acceptable. He has spelled out his expectations in Scripture, and the road map is there.

Perhaps it is time to ask directions.

A. Jay Kelley is the evangelist for the church of Christ in Colby, Kansas. His e-mail is

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ALWAYS SAYING THE RIGHT THING
by: Russ Lawson

Have you ever meant to say something that didn't come out just the way you wanted it to? Being a preacher, it seems that I have a constant problem of "foot in mouth". I have heard other folks do the same thing. Sometimes a word of correction that came off much harsher than we had intended.
I received this little story from a friend of mine in Missouri (Raymond), which illustrates the problem. A bashful young man asked a friend for advice on what to talk about on a date. The friend said to flatter the girl. "Tell her when you see her face, time stands still." What the rattled young man said to his date was, "Your face would stop a clock."

How do you get into messes like that? More important, how do you get out again? Most of the time it is as simple as saying, "I'm sorry, that was not what I meant to say. " Notice what Paul writes in Colossians 4:6: "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."

"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt..." I don't know about you, but I need an almost constant reminding of that principle. Why? Because I often don't do so well at accomplishing it. May our God guide you in all that you think and say!

God Bless, Russ Lawson, Greenville Church of Christ, Greenville, Ohio Email: rlawson@bright.net

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WHAT IS THE TRUTH?
by: Bill Brandstatter

 

In questioning Jesus, Pilate asked the question: "what is the truth? "(John 18:38) This is a question that transcends time and reaches even unto this day. Many today are asking the same question. Some have arrived at what is believed to be the answer. Others are still looking. Let us examine for a minute what the truth is not. In so doing, perhaps we can determine what is the truth.

 

The truth is not based on just man's opinion. One man stated, "Opinions are like noses, everybody has one." There may be much truth in that simple statement. The fact is, opinion is like the wind; it can change with different conditions. Many have opinions, but not all opinions are truth. There are basically two kinds of opinion. There are subjective opinion and objective. Subjective opinions are usually based on feelings, notions, ideas, and past experiences. Sometimes these opinions are fueled by feelings at a given moment in time. Objective opinions, however, are based on fact. For example, if I tell you that it is my opinion that my car will not run without gasoline, that would be an example of objective opinion. Objective opinion is based on truth. Subjective is not.

 

The criteria for determining truth can also vary with the individual. The question might be asked: Who or what is the authority in a particular matter? Often the right authority is not consulted. Therefore, the truth is not seen. If in religious circles, I consider what "they" say regarding certain matters, I might not arrive at the truth. Jesus stated a number of times in Matthew chapters 5 and 6, "You have heard it said, but I say unto you." He was attempting to lead those to whom He was speaking into the truth. He stated that we could know the truth (John 8:32). He also stated that He was the truth (Jno. 14:6). To understand and obey Jesus is to know and follow the truth. He is the right authority, not man or some religious official.

 

Truth can be determined. Truth is attainable. The source of all truth is God. To answer the question, What is truth?, I need only to go to the word of God and look at what it says. Like those Christians at Berea, I should "search the scriptures daily whether those things were so" ( Acts 17:11 ).

Bill Brandstatter preaches for the Vienna church of Christ in Vienna, Illinois.

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GOD'S WORD DOES NOT RETURN VOID
by Mike Benson

Has it ever occurred to you that if we wanted to judge the Lord's effectiveness as a teacher, we probably wouldn't want to look at His disciples around the time of His crucifixion...

Why not? Consider:

1. One of His disciples [Judas] betrayed Him and then committed suicide (Mark 14:10, 11, 18; Matt. 27:3-5).

2. Another disciple [Peter] tried to start a fight, denied even knowing Jesus, and then cursed when some suggested that he was a follower (Matt. 26:51, 52; 69-75).

3. All of His disciples forsook Him and fled (Mark 14:50).

Of course, it is helpful to "look on down the line" and see these same men days and years after the crucifixion. The twelve were boldly preaching Christ as the resurrected Lord (Acts 4:13, 18, 19, 31; 9:29; 14:3; 19:8).

THOUGHT: Bible teacher, when results aren't immediately forthcoming, when you wonder if you're making any impact, and when you're ready to "throw in the towel" because it seems that nobody is listening, IT IS THEN THAT YOU MUST NOT GIVE UP! Remember, it takes a while before the farmer sees the fruit of his labor.

"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes froth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it" (Isa. 55:10, 11; cf. Jas. 5:7).

KneEmail #157, January 2, 2002. Published by Mike Benson, Minister of the Oak Hill Church of Christ in Evansville, Indiana. You may subscribe at http://www.oakhillcoc.org.

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Quick Riches
----misc. goodies this issue

THE CHRISTIAN'S ABC'S

Accept the Bible as God's Word (1 Peter 1:23; 3:1).
Bear one another's burdens (Galations 6:2).
Confess Christ to men (Matthew 10:32).
Defend the faith (Jude 3).
Endure temptation (James 1:12).
Forgive one another (Luke 17:3).
Give the glory to God (Romans 4:20).
Hunger for righteousness (Matthew 5:6).
Imitate Christ (1 Peter 2:21).
Join unto the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:17).
Know God's Word (1 Peter 2:2).
Labor in the church (Galations 6:9, 10).
Magnify Christ (Philippians 1:20).
Nurture and care for other Christians (II Corinthians 7:13).
Offer up spiritual sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5).
Pray always (Ephesians 6:18).
Quit sinning (Romans 6:1,2).
Redeem the time (Colossians 4:5).
Search the scriptures (Acts 17:11).
Thank God in every thing (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Understand by faith (Hebrews 11:3).
Watch out for the devil (1 Peter 5:8).
eXpect the Lord's return (Matthew 24:44).
Be Zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).

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WHAT IF?

What if God couldn't take the time to bless us today because we couldn't take the time to thank Him yesterday?

What if God decided to stop leading us tomorrow because we didn't follow Him today?

What if we never saw another flower bloom because we grumbled when God sent the rain?

What if God didn't walk with us today because we failed to recognize it as His day?

What if God took away the Bible tomorrow because we would not read it today?

What if God took away His message because we failed to listen to the messenger?

What if God hadn't sent His only begotten Son because He wanted us to pay the price for sin?

What if the door of the church was closed because we did not open the door of our hearts?

What if God stopped loving and caring for us because we failed to love and care for others?

What if God would not hear us because we would not listen to Him?

What if God answered our prayers the way we answer His call to service?

What if God met our needs the way we give Him our lives?

Author Unknown, contributed by Sherry Boor, Lincoln & Tunnell Church of Christ, Santa Maria, California.

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Hearts of Gold
----poetry this issue

A RULE

Do all the good you can,

By all the means you can,

In all the ways you can,

In all the places you can,

At all the times you can,

To all the people you can,

As long as ever you can!

Author unknown, copied from the bulletin of the Church of Christ at Las Tunas and Kings Streets, Morro Bay, California

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Gold Mines
----quotes & sayings for bulletins and signs this issue

Bless God for what you have. Trust God for what you need. In all things, pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17

A happy home is not one without problems, but one that handles them with understanding and love.

No life is too broken for God to repair.

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